Choosing Your "Word" of the Year for 2019

With 2018 wrapping up in a blur of Christmas and New Years holiday spirit 2019 is fast approaching. Many of us are immersed in setting our 2019 goals, if you haven’t already done so. My 2019 goals are up and written down; I have them on my phone so that I can look at them when I am feeling like I am loosing my way and so that as they grow and change I can make adjustments on the fly.

I love setting new goals at the end of the year, I have always been a goal setter. I love watching the goals change not only over the long term but the short term as well. However, this is not about goal setting but rather the idea behind picking a “word” of the year. This is something that I started to doing three years ago as I was moving into my first #RoadToKona. This idea of setting a word of the year on top of my goals came from this need for something more than just a list of goals. As mentioned I love goals, my type A personality loves the feeling of checking a goal off the list, the triumph that comes from the success of checking off that goal but I found that even though my goals gave me strength and drive there was something missing from them. I was missing something that I could really nurture, pull on during each of the journey’s through my goals, and something that would support those goals that I had just set. That is when I started picking a word, or a quick short mantra - mostly because I felt that I needed more than one word :)


It is important when you are picking a word, or short saying like “embrace the suck” that the word doesn’t negate your goals and dreams but rather supports them and raises them up. One word, a simple word that helps guide you between decisions, motivates you, and brings you back down to earth when you are stuck in an endless loop of life.

The last three years the words/mantras have been:
These are words that I have repeated over and over again during my races, training, and life. They are words that have brought forth an overwhelming emotional, physical, and spiritual response from myself. Picking a word can be overwhelming, lets face there are SO MANY words out there that can illicit an emotional response. With that, below are three simple little steps towards helping you find that word that gives you the goosebumps so that you can use it for 2019.

Step 1 - Reflect
As the word is to embody and support the goals you have for the coming year the best place to start to find your inspiration for your word is looking back on the year before. This will not only give you a sense of direction with your word but may help you hone in on your goals a little bit more as well. When you are reflecting on the year before and the goals you have set for next year ask yourself a few of the questions below:

What could I use more of in my life?
What do I want to do different for next year?
What did I do the year before that excited me?
What excites me most about next year?
What makes me happy, sad, strong, passionate, etc?
What characteristics would I like to have?
How do I want to feel about myself, my goals, my job, etc?

Write these down, not only will it help you to find the word but it is also so beneficial from being able to see yourself grow throughout the years. Take each of these thoughts and as you review them start picking out a few words that you repeat over and over again, or maybe a word that comes to mind as you review certain pieces that you have maybe written multiple times.

Step 2 - Visualize
The idea behind the word is the feeling it gives you. This is a word that should give you goosebumps, it should excite you, scare you, bring you joy, and so much more. This word is one that needs to be strong enough to bring you back up when you are really struggling or unsure if you are going to make it through and that requires a lot of “feel”. Run through in your mind what that perfect day would be, or how you would feel that moment you put the check box next to your biggest and most scary goal. Take stock of how you feel while you are going about your day doing the little pieces on your journey towards your goal.

Each year my word has come to me during a hard workout, last year it was on the bike and this year it was during a run I just recently had on Christmas, in which I was visualizing myself completing the goal that I am working towards and how it would make me feel to cross that finish line. Maybe this isn’t the best way for you to come to the realization of your word, it could be mediation, journaling, walking in the woods, or yoga whatever it is that allows you to let your intuition shine and your instincts take over. You will be amazed at how your intuition will shine if you allow it to.

Don’t rush the process of discovering the word for yourself, it is often one that will just come naturally and when you are not thinking about it.

Step 3 - Commit
Once you have the word commit to it. When you are committed to the word and the feeling it gives you, you’ll do whatever it takes to implement it into your life and goals. Write your word down. Put it everywhere you can see it so that you are always reminded of it, this will help to bring the word to life.

Everyone’s word comes to them in a different state of mind, that is the beautiful thing about goals and words. This year my word came to me during a run I did on Christmas day. There wasn’t anything special about the run, it wasn’t a tough run or one that was pushing me outside my comfort zone it was merely a run that I chose to do because I wanted to run. It was a run where I went back to my running roots, where I just ran, feeling the strength of the road beneath my feet, the power of the cold air through my lungs as breathed in and out. All I could think about was how strong these two pieces made me feel. There was this strength that was propelling me forward with each step, a strength in myself, in the goals I had set for myself for the coming year, and the path I was on. That was it, my word was set. In 2019 my word will be STRENGTH: it will be the year of strength.

I hope that these three little steps will help guide you towards figuring out your word of the year. Once you find your word, share it below I would love to hear what yours is!!!